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January 14, 2002

Traveling

Question from London, England:

I am a 35 year old male who was diagnosed a year ago and presently take tablets a day to control things. My control is very good, I am reasonably fit, and I play rugby weekly and train twice a week. Shortly, I will be spending quite a lot of time in Johannesburg, South Africa, which has an altitude of about 6000 feet, and I'm told altitude can affect sugar levels quite significantly. Can you advise me on that, and any action I should take?

Answer:

Some people find that sugar levels go up on moving from sea level to 6000 feet. In your case you might find that, to start with and until your hemoglobin levels have adjusted, you will be too out of breath for Springbok rugby which may also increase blood sugar levels. There have been reports too that some meters read a little low at high blood sugar levels and a little high at low levels. None of this should present a significant problem to someone who is used to fine tuning control.

DOB